I'm in what I hope, since I wouldn't wish this situation on anyone, is a somewhat rare situation. My 77 year old mother has gone, over the course of months, from relatively self sufficient to so demanding of me, as her live in caregiver, that I have not a moment to myself to so much as even to sleep at night. She is rude, agressive, prone to temper tantrums, moderately incontinent and has multiple, serious co-moribund conditions, including renal failure and a platelet disorder. Her short term memory is failing and her attention span is poor.

She has been hospitalized four times in five months; once for “lack of care” (she had, while I was still under the impression she was eating, taking her meds, etc, begun spending all her days in bed, starving herself and neglecting her medical care while I was out), the second time for heart failure, then pneumonia and, most recently, confusion, weakness and an expanding aneurism. This latest hospitalization included two weeks out-of-province, the bulk of which was spent waiting for a bed in geriatric rehab to transfer her home to.

The nurses who treated her during her brief stay in rehab and out of town knew she was hallucinating and paranoid.
The geriatricians who assessed her saw some concern.
Several care professions have suggested Alzheimer's as a potential explanation for the personality disturbances.
The extra mural staff who have been visiting us are concerned for her health and my stress levels (I am with her 24/7, have had to give up all my activities and friendships).

Her family thinks she's fine.
Her family physician thinks she's fine.
She tells me, and anyone who will listen, that I'm the crazy one, I'm making it all up, I haven't done anything for her, I haven't been there at all.

Her doctor, after letting me run myself bankrupt staying out-of-province with my mom, waiting for that bed in her home hospital, decided to send her home immediately upon her arrival, declaring her "fine". Why he put me, not the mention the other hospital (which had to tie up a much needed and expensive bed and send her back by ambulance), through this when he had no intention of following the recommendations from the geriatricians who assessed her is beyond my understanding...but maybe this is a common situation after all?

I'm in my 30s, single and childless, now unemployed and beyond miserable. As the late-in-life only child, I feel a sense of duty, that I have to be there, to be at my mother's side when she dies (as I was for my father, who ate up a chunk of my 20s), but yesterday I hit my crisis point.

I don't want to be responsible for my mother's death, which is exactly the position I've been placed in. I can't afford to pay for her care right now (she can pay for it, but it would take all her money on what is, when you come right down to it, my responsibility) and if I leave her, she'll die of neglect. If I stay, it's impossible for me not to trigger her rages and crying fits, during which her blood pressure goes up, which has already had a dire consequence. Her per-existing, triple aortic aneurism grew while she was in my care during December and January. It is now unstable, basically inoperable and could burst at any time.

I'm on the verge of burnout, if not nervous breakdown. I'm very concerned that my mother's not receiving help she needs because her doctor doesn't take me seriously.

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Great advice from the previous responders. I would like to add a few items. We started with a doctor who did not believe us. The lesson I learned from him was to document everything in the care of my mother. We used checklists (easier for a busy caregiver) and a quick notes that were filed by date in a binder. The next visit to the doctor, I could say exactly what happened all week long, all month long and all year long. He could no longer tell us that she did not need extra care. This also helped when we called in Hospice, they did not believe me until I started reading to the representative the changes in mom's behavior, health, weight and eating habits from the binder. It sounds like you need immediate help so you might document using the video on your cell phone or computer for your next doctor's visit. I know that my advice is boring but it did work. If you would like, I could send you the overview sheets that I created to save you time and frustration.
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I am sorry to hear that your mom's doctor refuses to believe my mother requires constant care. Is he a geriatric doctor? You are not alone. Many caregivers and seniors feel that they are missed treated by their doctor. Our editors wrote an article on this to help caregivers like you who are going through similar situations. I also included an article to help you choose a doctor your mom can feel comfortable with. Best of Luck :)

Doctors Who Bully

Choosing a Doctor You and Your Parents Are Comfortable With

Karie H. Team
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Carol's experience is a good example. If a doctor is not providing needed care, change doctors.

But I have a feeling your mother will object to that. Tell her it is for a "second opinion." Do your best to get another doctor involved.

I don't understand this statement at all: "I can't afford to pay for her care right now (she can pay for it, but it would take all her money on what is, when you come right down to it, my responsibility) " Why on earth would your mother's expenses be your responsibility? If she can afford care, she should be paying for care.

I don't know where you are or what resources there are for you, but if you were in the US I would advice you to call your county's Social Services, get a case worker for your mother, and learn what options there are for her care, and for paying for it. Do you have a similar resource available to you?

You are in one of those damned if you do/damned if you don't situations. You only want the best for your mother but you have a lot of obstacles to providing it. I hope you can find a professional guide to the services available.
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I, also, had to deal with a Dr who seemed totally oblivious to my Dad's health issues. Ok, Dad is not the easiest patient to deal with and certainly not the most compliant. However, when a treating physician is not taking action (no matter what the reason is), it's time to change Doctors. In our case, I tried to make headway with Dad's Dr --- went to my Dad's Dr's appointments with him and even wrote the Dr a letter with what I considered evidence. Nothing worked. So we simply made an appointment with another Dr and just stopped seeing his treating physician. No regrets here. Dad's finally getting the medical treatment he should have gotten with the first physician.
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